Metagenomic Analysis of Dairy Bacteriophages: Extraction Method and Pilot Study on Whey Samples Derived from Using Undefined and Defined Mesophilic Starter Cultures.
ABSTRACT: Despite being potentially highly useful for characterizing the biodiversity of phages, metagenomic studies are currently not available for dairy bacteriophages, partly due to the lack of a standard procedure for phage extraction. We optimized an extraction method that allows the removal of the bulk protein from whey and milk samples with losses of less than 50% of spiked phages. The protocol was applied to extract phages from whey in order to test the notion that members of Lactococcus lactis 936 (now Sk1virus), P335, c2 (now C2virus) and Leuconostoc phage groups are the most frequently encountered in the dairy environment. The relative abundance and diversity of phages in eight and four whey mixtures from dairies using undefined mesophilic mixed-strain cultures containing Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis and Leuconostoc species (i.e., DL starter cultures) and defined cultures, respectively, were assessed. Results obtained from transmission electron microscopy and high-throughput sequence analyses revealed the dominance of Lc. lactis 936 phages (order Caudovirales, family Siphoviridae) in dairies using undefined DL starter cultures and Lc. lactis c2 phages (order Caudovirales, family Siphoviridae) in dairies using defined cultures. The 936 and Leuconostoc phages demonstrated limited diversity. Possible coinduction of temperate P335 prophages and satellite phages in one of the whey mixtures was also observed.IMPORTANCE The method optimized in this study could provide an important basis for understanding the dynamics of the phage community (abundance, development, diversity, evolution, etc.) in dairies with different sizes, locations, and production strategies. It may also enable the discovery of previously unknown phages, which is crucial for the development of rapid molecular biology-based methods for phage burden surveillance systems. The dominance of only a few phage groups in the dairy environment signifies the depth of knowledge gained over the past decades, which served as the basis for designing current phage control strategies. The presence of a correlation between phages and the type of starter cultures being used in dairies might help to improve the selection and/or design of suitable, custom, and cost-efficient phage control strategies.
Project description:Simultaneous quantitative detection of Lactococcus (Lc.) lactis and Leuconostoc species bacteriophages (phages) has not been reported in dairies using undefined mixed-strain DL-starters, probably due to the lack of applicable methods. We optimized a high-throughput qPCR system that allows simultaneous quantitative detection of Lc. lactis 936 (now SK1virus), P335, c2 (now C2virus) and Leuconostoc phage groups. Component assays are designed to have high efficiencies and nearly the same dynamic detection ranges, i.e., from ~1.1 x 105 to ~1.1 x 101 phage genomes per reaction, which corresponds to ~9 x 107 to ~9 x 103 phage particles mL-1 without any additional up-concentrating steps. The amplification efficiencies of the corresponding assays were 100.1±2.6, 98.7±2.3, 101.0±2.3 and 96.2±6.2. The qPCR system was tested on samples obtained from a dairy plant that employed traditional mother-bulk-cheese vat system. High levels of 936 and P335 phages were detected in the mother culture and the bulk starter, but also in the whey samples. Low levels of phages were detected in the cheese milk samples.
Project description:Dairy fermentations constitute a perfect "breeding ground" for bacteriophages infecting starter cultures, particularly strains of Lactococcus lactis. In modern fermentations, these phages typically belong to one of three groups, i.e., the 936, P335, and c2 phage groups. Traditional production methods present fewer chemical and physical barriers to phage proliferation compared to modern production systems, while the starter cultures used are typically complex, variable, and undefined. In the current study, a variety of cheese whey, animal-derived rennet, and vat swab samples from artisanal cheeses produced in Sicily were analysed for the presence of lactococcal phages to assess phage diversity in such environments. The complete genomes of 18 representative phage isolates were sequenced, allowing the identification of 10 lactococcal 949 group phages, six P087 group phages, and two members of the 936 group phages. The genetic diversity of these isolates was examined using phylogenetic analysis as well as a focused analysis of the receptor binding proteins, which dictate specific interactions with the host-encoded receptor. Thermal treatments at 63 °C and 83 °C indicate that the 949 phages are particularly sensitive to thermal treatments, followed by the P087 and 936 isolates, which were shown to be much less sensitive to such treatments. This difference may explain the relatively low frequency of isolation of the so-called "rare" 949 and P087 group phages in modern fermentations.
Project description:Lactococcus lactis is one of the most important bacteria in dairy fermentations, being used in the production of cheese and buttermilk. The processes are vulnerable to phage attacks, and undefined mixtures of lactococcal strains are often used to reduce the risk of bacteriophage caused fermentation failure. Other preventive measures include culture rotation to prevent phage build-up and phage monitoring. Phage diversity, rather than quantity, is the largest threat to fermentations using undefined mixed starter cultures. We have developed a method for culture independent diversity analysis of lytic bacteriophages of the 936 group, the phages most commonly found in dairies. Using, as a target, a highly variable region of the portal protein gene, we demonstrate an unprecedented diversity and the presence of new 936 phages in samples taken from cheese production. The method should be useful to the dairy industry and starter culture manufacturers in their efforts to reduce phage problems.
Project description:Phages of the P335 species infect Lactococcus lactis and have been particularly studied because of their association with strains of L. lactis subsp. cremoris used as dairy starter cultures. Unlike other lactococcal phages, those of the P335 species may have a temperate or lytic lifestyle, and are believed to originate from the starter cultures themselves. We have sequenced the genome of L. lactis subsp. cremoris KW2 isolated from fermented corn and found that it contains an integrated P335 species prophage. This 41 kb prophage (? KW2) has a mosaic structure with functional modules that are highly similar to several other phages of the P335 species associated with dairy starter cultures. Comparison of the genomes of 26 phages of the P335 species, with either a lytic or temperate lifestyle, shows that they can be divided into three groups and that the morphogenesis gene region is the most conserved. Analysis of these phage genomes in conjunction with the genomes of several L. lactis strains shows that prophage insertion is site specific and occurs at seven different chromosomal locations. Exactly how induced or lytic phages of the P335 species interact with carbohydrate cell surface receptors in the host cell envelope remains to be determined. Genes for the biosynthesis of a variable cell surface polysaccharide and for lipoteichoic acids (LTAs) are found in L. lactis and are the main candidates for phage receptors, as the genes for other cell surface carbohydrates have been lost from dairy starter strains. Overall, phages of the P335 species appear to have had only a minor role in the adaptation of L. lactis subsp. cremoris strains to the dairy environment, and instead they appear to be an integral part of the L. lactis chromosome. There remains a great deal to be discovered about their role, and their contribution to the evolution of the bacterial genome.
Project description:Three genetically distinct groups of Lactococcus lactis phages are encountered in dairy plants worldwide, namely, the 936, c2, and P335 species. The multiplex PCR method was adapted to detect, in a single reaction, the presence of these species in whey samples or in phage lysates. Three sets of primers, one for each species, were designed based on conserved regions of their genomes. The c2-specific primers were constructed using the major capsid protein gene (mcp) as the target. The mcp sequences for three phages (eb1, Q38, and Q44) were determined and compared with the two available in the databases, those for phages c2 and bIL67. An 86.4% identity was found over the five mcp genes. The gene of the only major structural protein (msp) was selected as a target for the detection of 936-related phages. The msp sequences for three phages (p2, Q7, and Q11) were also established and matched with the available data on phages sk1, bIL170, and F4-1. The comparison of the six msp genes revealed an 82. 2% identity. A high genomic diversity was observed among structural proteins of the P335-like phages suggesting that the classification of lactococcal phages within this species should be revised. Nevertheless, we have identified a common genomic region in 10 P335-like phages isolated from six countries. This region corresponded to orfF17-orf18 of phage r1t and orf20-orf21 of Tuc2009 and was sequenced for three additional P335 phages (Q30, P270, and ul40). An identity of 93.4% within a 739-bp region of the five phages was found. The detection limit of the multiplex PCR method in whey was 10(4) to 10(7) PFU/ml and was 10(3) to 10(5) PFU/ml with an additional phage concentration step. The method can also be used to detect phage DNA in whey powders and may also detect prophage or defective phage in the bacterial genome.
Project description:Lactococcal dairy starter strains are under constant threat from phages in dairy fermentation facilities, especially by members of the so-called 936, P335, and c2 species. Among these three phage groups, members of the P335 species are the most genetically diverse. Here, we present the complete genome sequences of two P335-type phages, Q33 and BM13, isolated in North America and representing a novel lineage within this phage group. The Q33 and BM13 genomes exhibit homology, not only to P335-type, but also to elements of the 936-type phage sequences. The two phage genomes also have close relatedness to phages infecting Enterococcus and Clostridium, a heretofore unknown feature among lactococcal P335 phages. The Q33 and BM13 genomes are organized in functionally related clusters with genes encoding functions such as DNA replication and packaging, morphogenesis, and host cell lysis. Electron micrographic analysis of the two phages highlights the presence of a baseplate more reminiscent of the baseplate of 936 phages than that of the majority of members of the P335 group, with the exception of r1t and LC3.
Project description:Lactococcus lactis is a Gram-positive bacterium widely used as a starter culture for the production of different dairy products, especially a large variety of cheeses. Infection of lactococcal starter cultures by bacteriophages is one of the major causes of fermentation failure and often leads to production halt. Lactococcal bacteriophages belonging to the c2, 936, and P335 species are the most commonly isolated in dairy plants and have been extensively investigated in the past three decades. Information regarding bacteriophages belonging to less commonly isolated species is, on the other hand, less extensive, although these phages can also contribute to starter culture infection. Here, we report the nucleotide sequence of the newly isolated L. lactis phage CHPC971, belonging to the rare 1706 species of lactococcal phages. We investigated the nature of the host receptor recognized by the phage and collected evidence that strongly suggests that it binds to a specific sugar moiety in the cell wall pellicle of its host. An in silico analysis of the genome of phage CHPC971 identified the hypothetical genes involved in receptor binding.IMPORTANCE Gathering information on how lactococcal bacteriophages recognize their host and proliferate in the dairy environment is of vital importance for the establishment of proper starter culture rotation plans and to avoid fermentation failure and consequent great economic losses for dairy industries. We provide strong evidence on the type of receptor recognized by a newly isolated 1706-type lactococcal bacteriophage, increasing knowledge of phage-host interactions relevant to dairying. This information can help to prevent phage infection events that, so far, are hard to predict and avoid.
Project description:This study reports on the identification and characterization of a novel abortive infection system, AbiU, from Lactococcus lactis. AbiU confers resistance to phages from the three main industrially relevant lactococcal phage species: c2, 936, and P335. The presence of AbiU reduced the efficiency of plaquing against specific phage from each species as follows: 3.7 x 10(-1), 1.0 x 10(-2), and 1.0 x 10(-1), respectively. abiU involves two open reading frames, abiU1 (1,772 bp) and abiU2 (1,019 bp). Evidence indicates that AbiU1 is responsible for phage resistance and that AbiU2 may downregulate phage resistance against 936 and P335 type phages but not c2 type phage. AbiU appeared to delay transcription of both phage 712 and c2, with the effect being more marked on phage c2.
Project description:Bacteriophage infection of Lactococcus species can cause serious disruption of dairy fermentation processes. The most common isolates from the dairy environment are Siphoviridae lytic 936-type phages. To gain specific knowledge about this group of phages in Polish dairies, we examined 90 isolates from 8 different locations. Based on restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, coupled with physiological and molecular studies, the isolated phages were divided into 8 distinct groups. Whole-genome sequencing of single representatives from each phage group provided data about their biology and genetic composition. The phages present an overall conserved genome organization. High sequence homology to another Polish isolate, Lactococcus phage bIBB29, indicates their close phylogenetic relatedness to this strain. Such similarity may be suggestive of a general genome conservation among phages persisting in Polish dairies. Comparative genome analyses with other 936-type phages revealed several discriminative traits, including the presence and position of HNH endonuclease genes, varying number of orfs in the early gene region, and a putative TpeX gene. Interestingly, host range of the sequenced phages was restricted to L. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis strains. The results provide new data regarding phages present in the Polish dairy environment and permit analysis of their biology, genome composition and relatedness to other Lactococcus 936-type phages.
Project description:ABSTRACT Analysis of the genetic locus encompassing a cell wall polysaccharide (CWPS) biosynthesis operon of eight strains of Lactococcus lactis, identified as belonging to the same CWPS type C genotype, revealed the presence of a variable region among the strains examined. The results allowed the identification of five subgroups of the C type named subtypes C1 to C5. This variable region contains genes encoding glycosyltransferases that display low or no sequence homology between the subgroups. In this study, we purified an acidic polysaccharide from the cell wall of L. lactis 3107 (subtype C2) and confirmed that it is structurally different from the previously established CWPS of subtype C1 L. lactis MG1363. The CWPS of L. lactis 3107 is composed of pentasaccharide repeating units linked by phosphodiester bonds with the structure 6-?-Glc-3-?-Galf-3-?-GlcNAc-2-?-Galf-6-?-GlcNAc-1-P. Combinations of genes from the variable region of subtype C2 were introduced into a mutant of subtype C1 L. lactis NZ9000 deficient in CWPS biosynthesis. The resulting recombinant mutant synthesized a polysaccharide with a composition characteristic of that of subtype C2 L. lactis 3107 and not wild-type C1 L. lactis NZ9000. By challenging the recombinant mutant with various lactococcal phages, we demonstrated that CWPS is the host cell surface receptor of tested bacteriophages of both the P335 and 936 groups and that differences between the CWPS structures play a crucial role in determining phage host range. IMPORTANCE Despite the efforts of nearly 80 years of lactococcal phage research, the precise nature of the cell surface receptors of the P335 and 936 phage group receptors has remained elusive. This work demonstrates the molecular nature of a P335 group receptor while bolstering the evidence of its role in host recognition by phages of the 936 group and at least partially explains why such phages have a very narrow host range. The information generated will be instrumental in understanding the molecular mechanisms of how phages recognize specific saccharidic receptors located on the surface of their bacterial host.